Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Dec. 28, 2021, 8:37 a.m. Humanist 35.426 - critical artificial intelligence???

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 35, No. 426.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
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        Date: 2021-12-28 08:26:17+00:00
        From: Willard McCarty <>
        Subject: critical artificial intelligence???

From my perspective a discipline whose focus is computing in and of the
humanities, or perhaps better, human sciences, should be meeting
'artificial intelligence' straight on with a combination of technical
knowledge, an historical imagination, keen critical discernment,
anthropological scope and a thorough education in the arts and
humanities. Perhaps this is asking too much? Or not enough?

If my expression of impatience is not in fact excessive, if my 
disappointment in the literature on AI is due to ignorance of key texts, 
kindly put this ignorance to rest with references to such texts. I've just 
begun reading Erik Larson's The Myth of Artificial Intelligence (2021) 
so cannot say much -- kindly excuse the following if it is unfair -- but I am 
initially disappointed by the casual use of 'myth' to mean a "untrue or 
erroneous story or belief; a widely held misconception" (OED). That's true 
enough of the blather spilling from the bandwagon, or rather the two 
bandwagons (the 'buy now for a taste of the future' bandwagon and the 
'run for your life' one). But in his use and understanding of the word, 
Thomas Rid's The Rise of the Machines (2016) is far better. It's a good 

Perhaps this is a rather indirect way of asking for recommendations, but
that's what it is.



Willard McCarty,
Professor emeritus, King's College London;
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews;  Humanist

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